Are You Ready for the ‘Permacrisis’?

April 11, 2023

More and more, it can seem like everything is falling apart at once. How can brands stay ready?

What’s in today’s news? Is it flooding, drought or catastrophic storms? A devastating  war in Europe playing havoc with energy prices? Celebs behaving badly?

The Collins Dictionary  added a new word to describe this unsettling normalcy: permacrisis.

Permacrisis is described as an “ongoing state of uncertainty and worry” — what a way to follow up a global pandemic!

The feeling is familiar to professional communicators. We’re always keeping an eye on the horizon, thinking through what-ifs and trying to position our clients to respond to known threats — and be nimble when bad surprises come our way.

News cycles are spinning faster than ever before, and the power of social media means any organization can find itself in crisis at any time.

That’s the bad news. The good news? Time-tested truths still apply:

  1. Don’t react… pre-act! Assume a crisis will affect your organization. You don’t know when, and you can’t know the specifics. But you can get a game plan in place. Talk through expected scenarios with your leadership team. Monitor social media chatter surrounding your organization and industry. Gather your key leaders for a “tabletop exercise” to run through an imaginary scenario to see how everyone would react in a crisis.

  2. Build goodwill now. If you only talk to your audience — whether that’s employees, customers, the media or the general public — when you’re under threat, nobody will know if they can trust you. Organizations must share news, updates and insight on a regular basis. Consistent communication breeds familiarity and makes you more believable when things go wrong.

  3. Getting good advice matters. The most successful leaders seek counsel for their weaker areas. Whether you lean on an internal professional communicator or hire an agency, having a pro who can stay calm during a crisis is key. They will understand how to shape and promote your message — which can be the difference between faltering when times get hard or moving on to greater heights.

Want to talk about crisis preparation? Contact Candor.

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